What Makes A Building Earthquake-Proof

For as long as humans have been building structures they’ve had to contend with the wrath of Mother Nature.

Earthquakes are far and away one of the most destructive natural forces on the planet, and have been known to level entire cities throughout history – and we’re not just talking about ancient history, either.

You need to look no further than the devastation that occurred in California during the 1989 World Series.

67 people lost their lives during these earthquakes in San Francisco, with more than $5 billion in property damage racked up by the time the 6.9 earthquakes had subsided.

Luckily, thanks in large part to modern engineering and material choices, we can build earthquake resilient and even earthquake-proof buildings better than ever before.

Here’s some of what goes into how these buildings are designed.

Flexible Foundations

As any legitimate foundation repair Los Angeles operation can tell you, a huge piece of the puzzle to building and designing earthquake-proof properties is building flexible foundations first.

By establishing foundations that “lift” buildings above the earth (through a method known as base isolation), these buildings can sort of float above ground that could be negatively impacted by earthquakes.

The foundation can then absorb the seismic waves, stop them from traveling into the actual structure of the building itself, and protect these buildings from earthquake damage.

Smart Dampening

Dampening technology works a lot like shock absorbers in automobiles, though these dampening solutions are obviously much larger and designed to withstand significantly more force.

There are two kinds of dampening solutions used in earthquake-proof buildings these days.

You have vibrational control devices and dampers that are built into every level of a building. These dampers are piston heads filled with oil, and when the building begins to vibrate the vibration funnels into the piston and is subdued.

Pendulum power dampening (commonly used in skyscrapers) basically involves suspending a giant ball inside a building (in the center of the building) that’s connected to several structural steel cables. The steel cables connect to hydraulic systems at the top of the building, and when the earthquake causes the property to sway the ball begins to work like a pendulum.

It moves in opposition to the forces exerted by the earthquake, allowing the structure to say stable even in some pretty topsy-turvy scenarios.

Shielding From Vibrations

Modern engineers and researchers are working on ways to shield buildings from vibrations completely, basically deploying modern seismic retrofit solutions that would essentially in case buildings in an “earthquake invisibility cloak”.

These solutions are relatively new and involve placing 100 concentric plastic and concrete rings 3 feet from the foundation of a building and then extending outwards.

As the energy from an earthquake hits these concentric rings they act sort of the way that wave breakers do in a port, dampening the energy down before it gets to the building itself.

The solutions need a little more refinement, but they are exciting advancements all the same.

Strategic Structural Reinforcement

Structural reinforcement is another popular method of designing earthquake proof buildings, and it involves being smarter about foundation building approaches, and material choices, using things like earthquake brace bulk technology, and more.

At the end of the day, solutions like sheer walls, diaphragms, and modular movement resistant frames are becoming a lot more popular thanks to their effectiveness in preventing earthquake damage.

Closing Thoughts

When you get right down to it, if you’re serious about protecting your property from earthquake damage you need to speak to experts that know what they are doing.

Professionals like those at Seismic Safety are going to help you better understand how to protect your loved ones and your property from earthquakes, how to retrofit your home and property, and how to ensure Mother Nature isn’t able to wreak havoc on one of life’s most significant financial investments.